Sultan bin Sulayem: Changes reflect needs of an ever evolving market

Sultan bin Sulayem: Changes reflect needs of an ever evolving market

Jafza relaxes rules for foreign firms

01 February 2017

UAE’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), a DP World Company, has issued a new set of guidelines that enables foreign companies to transfer and continue operations in the free zone without the need to open a branch or establish a new company.

For the first time, Jafza has brought together all the legal entities such as the Free Zone Establishment (FZE), Free Zone Company (FZCO) and Branches under one regulation and has introduced a new legal definition such as Public Listed Companies (PLC).

Companies can restructure and rearrange their operations by converting from an FZE or FZCO to a PLC and vice-versa, enabling continuity of businesses in the free zone. Foreign companies will also be able to transfer to the free zone keeping intact all their commitments so attracting international businesses to Jafza.

In another amendment, businesses can now be set-up with capital sufficient for the activities applied for in place of the existing regulation that mandates a minimum amount of capital. This leaves owners to decide the adequacy of their capital for their business. Meanwhile, the number of shareholders in a FZCO will now be set at a minimum of two and a maximum of 50.

The concept of different classes of shares provides flexibility to owners to offer different voting rights to shares. This could allow structures with management rights shares providing flexibility to owners for raising equity while retaining management rights over the company.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “The new regulations streamline all the mandatory legalities related to the registration, administration, legal benefits and obligations of organisations in the free zone. These changes reflect the needs of an ever evolving market in terms of providing facilities that are prompt, secure and form the best international practice.”

Under the new regulations, the current FZE and FZCO type of entities will let customers list their company on the stock exchange by establishing a new legal definition namely the Public Listed Company. This will allow PLCs incorporated in the free zone to access capital through capital markets. The relevant Markets Laws in the UAE apply to a PLC.



Meanwhile, the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector in Jafza grew by 10 per cent to 314 companies in 2016 compared to 284 during the previous year.

The value of trade in the sector rose to Dh13.3 billion ($3.62 billion) in 2015, emphasising Dubai’s growing significance in the regional medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry and the key role of Jafza in attracting investors in the industry.

To showcase the growing opportunities of the healthcare sector in the region and the facilities available for their growth in Jafza, the free zone is participating in the Arab Health exhibition from January 30 to February 2 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Bin Sulayem said that the UAE is one of the most promising markets for healthcare service providers because of the government’s focus on healthcare and the plans in place to develop Dubai as the regional hub for medical tourism.

More Stories